Passing of NHI Bill by the NCOP is cause for deep concern – IRR

Dec 07, 2023
The IRR is deeply concerned about the future of South Africa’s healthcare system following the vote in favour of the NHI Bill by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday afternoon.
Passing of NHI Bill by the NCOP is cause for deep concern – IRR

The IRR is deeply concerned about the future of South Africa’s healthcare system following the vote in favour of the NHI Bill by the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) yesterday afternoon.

Says IRR Campaign Manager Mlondi Mdluli: “In July, we wrote to all members of the NCOP expressing our concerns about the NHI Bill and urged them to vote against it. The NCOP should have followed in the footsteps of the Western Cape legislature, which considered the implications of the NHI and last week rightly voted against its implementation.”

Continues Mdluli: “The calls against the passing of the NHI Bill have been growing significantly in the past week, with Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and Business For South Africa (B4SA) writing to the NCOP and Deputy President Paul Mashatile to raise their concerns. It is also worth remembering that a few months ago, the South African Medical Association, which represents over 12 000 doctors, submitted a petition signed by more than 52 000 people to the NCOP calling for it to vote against the NHI Bill.”

“We are glad that a number of organisations have finally woken up to the threat posed by the NHI. The IRR welcomes them in this battle against the encroachment of the state on the personal choices of South Africans. South African healthcare needs to be fixed, but the NHI will destroy what works, while not fixing what is broken.”

The IRR has opposed the NHI since it was first mooted, adds Mdluli. It will simply be unaffordable, and it will also infringe on the rights of South Africans to choose to obtain private healthcare by nationalising private hospitals.

Private healthcare would be significantly cheaper – and thus accessible to many more South Africans – had it not been for the aggressive state regulation that has significantly pushed up the costs of medical scheme membership since 1998.

In addition, had the government been willing to allow low-cost medical schemes, costing some R200 per adult member per month, as proposed by the Council for Medical Schemes in 2015, some 15 million more South Africans would already have had access to private healthcare at the key primary level.

Concludes Mdluli: “The IRR will write to President Cyril Ramaphosa to make it plain that unless refers the Bill back to the National Assembly for a rethink, the IRR will consider legal avenues to block the implementation of the Bill. The NHI will completely fail to improve the country’s failing public healthcare system and will result in its further deterioration. We assure the public that we will use every resource at our disposal to ensure that the Bill is not implemented.”

Media contacts: Mlondi Mdluli, IRR Campaign Manager Tel: 071 148 2971 Email: mlondi@irr.org.za

Marius Roodt, IRR Head of Campaigns Tel: 082 799 7035 Email: marius@irr.org.za

Hermann Pretorius IRR Head of Strategic Communications Tel: 079 875 4290 Email: hermann@irr.org.za

Media enquiries: Michael Morris Tel: 066 302 1968 Email: michael@irr.org.za

Sinalo Thuku, Tel: 073 932 8506 Email: sinalo@irr.org.za

 

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